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Sex Lives of the Popes Paperback – September 1, 2004
Top Customer Reviews
The passages about the sex lives of the popes themselves are mainly based on hearsay. Cawthorne accuses several popes of incest with either their sisters or bastard daughters, like pope Alexander VI Borgia, who retired with his daughter to "an interior room and remained locked up together for more than an hour". In secret she gave birth to a baby that was hidden, but that doesn't prove that her father was the father. Many other popes seem to have had preferences for young boys, prostitutes or sex-and-food orgies in general.
Despite many unproven accusations, the book clearly shows that many popes were mainly concerned with their own pleasures and did not give a damn about Christian values. Anyway, the book is good reading stuff.
He wrote in the Introduction to this 1996 book, "Evan in an age when priestly misdemeanors regularly hit the headlines, it would be hard to imagine Pope John Paul II being ministered to by a mother superior, while the college of cardinals looked on. However, such a spectacle would not be without historic precedent. Plenty of previous popes have got up to all kinds of mischief. Many have been married. More, while making a show of celibacy, had installed their mistresses in the Vatican and promoted their illegitimate sons... to high office. There have been gay popes who have made their catamites cardinals. There have been grossly promiscuous popes of both persuasions. Orgies were not unknown in the papal palaces. One pope ran a brother out of the Lateran Palace." (Pg. 1) He adds, "The Catholic Church has gone to great lengths to hush this sort of thing up... With the wealth, power and position the papacy brought, it is not really surprising that popes regularly found a balm to the cares of the world in the arms of their lovers..." (Pg. 2) He further adds, "The history of the Christian Church... is not nearly as staid as it makes out.Read more ›
It does have a slow start, starting with the foundations of Christendom and sex and stewards of the early Church, but once it gets into the medieval and Renaissance periods, things really kick into high gear. There are some popes that are definitely given a bit of extra weighting compared to others, so it does make for a somewhat imbalanced read once you get about three-quarters of the way through. (You'll wonder - "Why am I still reading about Alexander VI, six pages later? In the third chapter, there were at least 30 popes!")
Overall, I thought it was enjoyable, but probably not very factual. If you like gossipy, salacious history of figures of power, (or popes at least), then I definitely recommend this book. If you're extremely picky about rumors or gossip and want 'just the facts', then you'll probably be wanting to look elsewhere.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was sort of interesting but mostly highly dragging the way it was written. From what I read, the popes were self centered and selfish. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
Meh. I think this book had some substantial inaccuracies -- Lucrezia Borgia, for example, was actually a decent woman who never committed any incest or killed anybody (though her... Read morePublished on August 27, 2012 by Meaghan
Buying from Amazon is certainly convenient, trifty with prompt servive. As for the book, I have barely started reading, but the text is very interesting. Read morePublished on August 24, 2011 by Waddle
It may be the 21st century, but things in the world of the Catholic clergy haven't changed much. Although the title is Sex Lives of the Popes, it really covers not only the popes,... Read morePublished on August 10, 2009 by Elliot Malach
All of the popes I WOULD like to know more about, LACK in this book. That just about resumes it all. Read morePublished on June 25, 2008 by Jan Van Helmont
Cawthorne writes well, in an easy-to-read style that is generally enjoyable. The problem starts about half way through the book when you begin to wonder if it is possible for... Read morePublished on April 10, 2008 by M. F. Mohammed
This book was very interesting but gory--I had to put it down a few times. I thought it was just because I am a female but the male friend who refered it to me, said the same... Read morePublished on February 8, 2008 by Pat